Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Tuesday 19 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Branwalator of Jersey
home iconChurch
line break icon

Pope reveals who inspires him to spend Holy Thursday with prisoners

Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz - published on 04/13/17

In an interview with La Repubblica published today, Francis recalls a collaborator of John XXIII

In an interview today with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Pope Francis revealed that he is following the example of a former Vatican secretary of state in making his ministry to the imprisoned a priority.

The pope again this year celebrated today’s Mass of the Last Supper in a prison, washing the feet of 12 inmates.

“As priests and bishops, we should always be serving,” the pope told La Repubblica. “As I said in the visit to a prison that I made the first Holy Thursday after my election, this is a duty that I carry in my heart.”

His focus on prison ministry, the pope revealed, has been reinforced by the example of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, who died in 1998.

In 1979, Pope John Paul II appointed the cardinal as Secretary of State, following his many years working in the Vatican and in Vatican diplomacy.

“The example of Agostino Casaroli taught me a lot,” Francis explained in the interview published today. “He died in 1998, after having been a cardinal and Secretary of State. As a priest, he carried out his ministry for years in the juvenile prison of Casal del Marmo.

Francis continued: “Every Saturday night, he would disappear. ‘He’s resting,’ people would say. He arrived [to the prison] by bus, with his briefcase, and he stayed there to hear the young people’s confessions and to play with them. They called him Don Agostino — nobody knew who he was.

“When John XXIII received him in audience after his first visit to the countries of Eastern Europe on a diplomatic mission in the midst of the Cold War, after the meeting, the pope asked him, ‘Tell me something. Do you still visit those kids?’

“‘Yes, Your Holiness,’

“‘I ask you a favor: Never abandon them.’ This was the counsel left to Casaroli by the Good Pope, who died a few months later.”

Tags:
Pope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
2
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
3
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
Reasons Catholics should read the Bible
4
SAINT RITA CASCIA
Bret Thoman, OFS
Traces of miracles remain at the birthplace of St. Rita of Cascia
5
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's formula for defeating evil in the world
6
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
'An American Blessed': A documentary to thank God in 2021
7
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.